A second Republican candidate from southwestern Pennsylvania has announced he will join the challenge to unseat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat finishing his second term in the Senate.
State Rep. Jim Christiana, 33, of Beaver, said in a news release that he is running on “a record of enhancing government transparency and taxpayer accountability; ensuring government lives within its means; and working to fix a broken education system that continues to shortchange our children.”
Mr. Christiana has served in the state House of Representatives since 2009.
In an interview Saturday, Mr. Christiana said, “Those issues have been important to me ever since I first ran for public office. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve been able to work with Democrats and Republicans, and we’ve been able to deliver monumental solutions on those initiatives.
“When I look at what’s going on in Washington, D.C., it’s in need of a new group of leaders who have a proven track record of being able to do that.”
Rick Saccone, 59, a Republican state representative from Elizabeth Township, announced his candidacy in February. He has served in the state House since 2011.
Mr. Casey, 56, has been in the U.S. Senate since 2007.
As an example of what he’d like to do first in Washington, Mr. Christiana said:
“Our federal tax code and our health care system is in shambles. … People in Western Pennsylvania are frustrated with obstructionists. We need someone who can reach across the aisle and build consensus.”
In the state House, he said, that kind of cooperation led to support for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, which gives students in a low-achieving school the chance to apply for a scholarship to attend another school.
Citing Democratic-Republican alliances in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, he said, “We were able to get that program signed into law, with the help of a Democratic senator from Philadelphia.”
Other accomplishments, he said, addressed regional concerns about health insurance and economic development.
“When I took on the issue of the Highmark-UPMC contract impasse, I was fortunate to have [Rep.] Dan Frankel [D-Squirrel Hill] work with me to ensure … people had access to their doctors and hospitals.”
His promotion of bringing Shell’s cracker plant to Beaver County, which included tax credits, succeeded because of reaching across the aisle, he said.
“We were able to do that because of Democrats [and] bringing labor and industry together because of job creation.”
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